St. Louis, Mo. September 2, 2017 – The No. 3-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team soundly defeated No. 15 Hope College in three straight sets to finish out the opening weekend of play at the Bear Invitational Saturday afternoon in the WU Field House.
The Bears improved to 2-1 on the year while handing the Flying Dutch its second loss of the day and dropping their record to 2-2. WashU beat Hope in straight sets winning 25-20, 25-21 and 25-21. Junior Julianne Malek and sophomore Zoe Baxter were named to the Bear Invitational All-Tournament team for their efforts.
Malek and sophomore Leila King dominated the middle of the net with timely kills and efficient swings as the pair combined for 21 kills compared to just three errors. Pacing the Bears' attack was freshman Alison Almgren-Bell as she concluded the match with 35 assists as well as four service aces. Baxter's 15 digs increased her double figure digs streak to 16 straight matches, dating back to 2016.
The Bears jumped to an early 5-0 lead in the first set on multiple kills by Malek and a service ace from senior Lauren Fournier. The Flying Dutch stormed back to take a three-point advantage until WashU scored 11 of the final 14 points for the 25-20 win.
The Flying Dutch led 13-5 in the second set but the Bears' Almgren-Bell served the team back into contention with multiple aces sprinkled with kills by Malek and freshman Tricia Brown. Despite another lead change in favor of Hope, WashU closed out the set on an 8-1 run with Brown earning the decisive score, 25-21.
In similar fashion to the previous two sets WashU and Hope traded leads until the Bears pulled away at the end. The Red & Green prevailed in the third set 25-21 closing out the scoring on an ace by Almgren-Bell and a kill by Malek.
Baxter led the Bears with 15 digs while Almgren-Bell added 10, as junior Ifeoma Ufondu led WashU with four block assists. Junior Lauren Martin also contributed five kills and a solid hitting percentage of .364 in the victory.
Malek concluded the weekend with 34 kills and just two errors for a .542 hitting percentage while also adding 16 total blocks and 10 digs to earn All-Tournament honors. Baxter also earned All-Tournament honors by leading the Bears with 47 digs over the weekend.
WashU will remain at home on Wednesday, September 6 as it hosts Illinois Wesleyan at 7 p.m. in the WU Field House. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.